Though it was released with much hype and fanfare, the video game Star Wars: Battlefront was met with mixed reactions when it finally hit shelves last year. The novelty of taking part in battles set in a galaxy far, far away wore off relatively quickly, and players wanted a little more substance to make the purchase worthwhile. One of the biggest points of contention was the lack of a single player campaign mode, which even bothered Star Wars: The Force Awakens actor John Boyega.
It was annoying for gamers that Battlefront didn't have a campaign (especially since the old titles released through LucasArts in the 2000s did). As hard as it may be to believe, some might be even more frustrated by how things turned out now, since developer EA has come out and confirmed why there's no single player mode in their game. Unsurprisingly, they were motivated by money.
During an investor broadcast (hat tip Euro Gamer), EA's Patrick Soderlund addressed the criticisms of Battlefront, revealing that the move to forego a campaign feature was a "conscious decision" so the company could release the game in conjunction with the theatrical premiere of The Force Awakens:
"We made [the choice] due to time and being able to launch the game side-by-side with the movie that came out to get the strongest possible impact."
For longtime gamers, this is just the latest example of EA rushing to meet a specific date to maximize sales rather than taking the time to ensure the final product is of high quality (see: Battlefield 4, Titanfall, their sports titles). From strictly a business perspective, it can be argued that it worked, since Battlefront surpassed the company's commercial expectations. However, the word-of-mouth did some damage over time and the buzz surrounding the shooter has died down in the months following its debut. The game has lost several players since November 2015, which makes the new DLC less interesting for those still active. EA continues to add more offline content in an attempt to enhance things, but some feel that it's too late to accomplish a complete turnaround and draw in the uninitiated.
While the first Battlefront ended up as a disappointment, EA will get another shot in the near future. A Battlefront sequel is currently planned for a 2017 release and will feature connections to the new movies. Soderlund stated that it's the company's goal for the followup to improve upon its predecessor, specifically mentioning the original's Metacritic rating of 75 (which on their scale, is at the low end of "Generally Favorable Reviews"):
"I think the team created a really good game based on the premise that we had. I would say the game has done very well for us and reached a very different demographic than a traditional EA game. So from that perspective, it's a success. Are we happy with the 75 rating? No. Is that something we're going to cure going forward? Absolutely."
It remains to be seen how EA will "cure" the response to Battlefront, and even if consumers are willing to give them a chance. After the failings of the first Battlefront, there will probably be those who doubt the company's ability to make good on this promise and decide to skip the sequel. As stated earlier, EA doesn't have the best reputation within the gaming community, so people may look to the better-received LEGO brand for their Star Wars video game fix instead of dropping more money on an unproven brand. After all, 2017 sees the release of Star Wars: Episode VIII, so history could be repeating itself.
At the same token, there's still a lot of time between now and then, meaning EA has ample opportunity to deliver a more satisfying game experience for Battlefront 2. All those concerns about players bypassing the title would be erased simply by reviews indicating a marked improvement. Especially these days, anything labeled with the Star Wars logo is going to sell like hotcakes, no matter when it comes out. For the prices video games cost, the developers have an obligation to make it a sound investment for players. The possibilities with something like Battlefront are endless, so fingers crossed EA took the feedback to heart and learned a valuable lesson.
Star Wars: Battlefront is now available. The sequel will come out in 2017.
Source: Euro Gamer